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Full text of "Verdict On India"

POMP AND  CIRCUMSTANCE                                  25

Enter Their Excellencies.                              ^"
You see them coming from a great distance, "walking slowly
through a series of ar.te-rooms. In front of them stalks an AJXC.
Always, during their term of office, the A.D.C. must precede
them. One irrepressible ex-Vicereine once told me that after a
few years she began to feel that she could not get into the bath
unless an A.D.C. had jumped in first.
The guests stand in. line, and as they are presented, the women
curtsy, the men click their heels and bow. Their Excellencies
sweep on. As we enter the dining-room we notice a fresh chorus
of g ants in royal livery, one behind each chair. The giants^ for
a brief and beautiful moment, cover their faces with their white-
gloved hands. \Yhereupon, we sit down.
That is how it was in the Linlithgows' time. The Wavells,
with wThom I also had the honour of staying, have cut down the
ceremony a Lttle, and things are slightly more informal. It is
worth noting that under each regime the food was of the utmost
simplicity. Compared with the banquets offered by the Princes
or by any of the rich Hindu merchants, it was Spartan.
The life of the Viceroy, too, was Spartan ; re had to be, for there
were always mountains of work to be done. The only time that
Lmlithgow ever relaxed was for twenty minutes after dinner,
when he lay back in an arm-chair, with his hand over his eyes,
listening to the news. As soon as the news was over he rose to his
feet, a little wearily. There would be curtsies and bows, and then
he would disappear to his study, where a green lamp was shining,
shedding its light over piles of papers and documents. The lamp
went on shining till long after midnight.
He had the toughest and bitterest job that any servant of
Empire ever had to tackle, and at the end of his seven years he
had given all he had to give. He had a deep affection for Indiaj
and he knew its people far better than the average Indian. It
was not his fault that his record was largely a record of
* might-have-beens.' Not all of those 'might-have-beens' were
fruitless. If he had not used an iron hand in August 1942, when
anarchy was abroad, the whole country would have run with